Toddlers love to make a mess! Why not be the coolest mom ever and encourage some mess? Including sensory experiences in your child’s play and learning builds imagination, fine motor skills, introduces math and science, and more. Did I mention that it is fun for them and they enjoy making huge messes? Mix up the way you introduce sensory experiences and keep them interested and you will find that you will have a ball too!
Painting– Kids love to paint but think outside of just paint and a paint brush. Let them use their hands to finger paint with pudding, shaving cream, or any kind of paint. Construction paper, newpaper, bath tub walls and tabletop can all be their canvas.
Taste Testing– Set up the table with samples of foods from every category-sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. If your child is up for it cover their eyes while they taste and have them try to guess what it is based on taste alone.
Sensory Bins– These have provided endless fun for both the kids and I. A large shallow plastic bin is the base, then we add a filler like beans, grass, rocks, colored rice, or shredded paper. Next add cups, bowls, and spoons for filling, pouring, measuring, and scooping. Finally I like to add something themed, for instance if we are talking about pets that week I add small plastic domesticated animals, or bugs, or alphabet blocks spelling out there name if we are working on name recognition.
Identifying Smells-Saturate cotton balls with things like vanilla extract, perfume, baby oil, sunscreen, and other items. Place in a jar, labeled with numbers or letters and have your child identify the scent of each.
Sensory Bottles -Water bottles 3/4 full with water and then filled with fun items like beads, glitter, buttons, and other small items (then glued shut) become a favorite sensory item of toddlers then can shake, twist, roll, and examine to bottles.
Feel Bags– These are so much fun and really require no preparation. All you need is brown paper lunch sacks and items that are fairly easy to identify by shape or texture. A favorite small stuffed animal, plastic figurines, a wooden block, a car, etc.., place one item in a paper bag and let your child slip their hand in the bag and feel it to guess what is inside.
Texture Walk– Cut up a foam core board into squares approximately 6×6, cover each one in various textures such as silk fabric, sandpaper, faux fur, felt, sponge pieces, draw on one with hot glue and allow to cool and dry for a fun texture. Place them like a stepping stone walkway and let your child walk over them or jump from square to square.
Engaging the senses in play time and education is important in your toddlers development. These are some of our favorite sensory activities toddlers love, that you can also enjoy with older kids when adapted.
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